AfCFTA: SON begins preparation with meteorological centre in Enugu

Segun Oladipupo    |      

The Director General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr. Osita Aboloma has stated the preparedness of the agency for the  African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)which is billed to begin in March, 2020.

Aboloma stated that the establishment of the Nigeria Meteorological Institute in Enugu is part of its preparedness for the commencement of AfCFTA.

He stated this in Lagos saying that the agency started its preparations when it was obvious that Nigeria was going to sign the agreement.

Aboloma, who was represented at the roundtable discussion with industry stakeholders,  by the Deputy Director, Inspectorate and Compliance Monitoring, SON, Engr. Enebi Shaibu Onucheyo, stated that the agency’s laboratory had been accredited such that any result from the laboratory would be acceptable anywhere in the world.

He said, “Then we have worked on harmonization of standards also within the West African sub-region and often time, it is Nigerian standard that is adopted and several other things that have been put in place in preparation for this agreement. So, we are ready”, he said.

He however pointed out that the imminent challenge of combating the possible dumping of substandard and life endangering products through the seaports would definitely be a challenge to their preparedness saying that “we will continue for now while we struggle to get back to the port and I want to believe with your support and campaigns, we will get back to the ports.”

“So, we will continue to deploy other strategies using automation, intelligence gathering and compliance monitoring to protect Nigerians from the menace of substandard and life endangering products, meaning that all of us, our hands should be on deck to give us information. When you see substandard products, inform us, you may not even tell us your name, anonymously, give us information and we will act.

“I want you also to support our fight of going back to the ports because if we are there to check these things, we will have less problems in our markets. So, we need your support to overcome that challenge”, he added.

On the benefit of AfCFTA to the Nigerian economy, he said, “If well managed, one, if we can check the quality of goods coming into our country and not that Nigeria is made a dumping ground, of course, it will take care of our labour market, expansion of businesses, return on investment as the name implies, of course, all of us will be happy. By implication, it will take care of security because if we all have jobs, everybody is comfortable, people will not think of going to commit crime. The advantages are numerous but we must get our strategies right. If we don’t check the quality of goods coming in at the point of entry and ensure that whatever goes into our markets meet the major requirements of our standards, then, we have problem in our hands and that is what we have prepared for and we are still strategizing to ensure that we get it right.

“So also, our own export too, you know we make a lot of proceeds from export. A lot of agro-allied products go from Nigeria to the US and other countries, so, it will improve all that. We will make a lot of money and Nigeria will be better for it. It will have a general effect on our GDP. So, we have to strategize very well to ensure that we manage very well the negative things that will come with the agreement,’ he said.

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